Dogs in general are pack-oriented animals. They need to interact with their pack on a regular basis to be secure. Golden’s in particular have been bred through the years to make an excellent companion for people – whether it is to sit quietly in a duck blind until it is time to retrieve or as a service dog or in any other capacity. Because of this, they, even more so than some other breeds, need to interact with their people. Golden’s are particularly forgiving dogs and will allow you to make many mistakes while still wanting nothing more than to please and be acknowledged for it with a scratch behind the ear. As a testament to their desire to please, the first three dogs to obtain Obedience Trial Championships were Golden Retrievers. Because Golden’s are such people-oriented dogs, it’s important that they live WITH their owners. A Golden relegated to the backyard while his family is in the house is an unhappy Golden. It is imperative that your Golden be regularly included in family activities. Once fully grown, they are a robust dog and will enjoy many activities with you such as walking, hiking, jogging, hunting, etc. As is common with the retriever breeds, this is a breed slow to fully mature both mentally and physically. At a year of age, they will have their full height, but their full weight will be another year or two in coming. Mentally, they remain puppies for a long time (up to two or three years of age) and many retain a very playful and clownish personality for most of their lives. Because of their kindly and easy going nature, Golden’s are a popular breed. Many people, in hoping to cash in on this popularity, breed Golden’s without regard to their temperament or other good attributes. You should be very selective in picking out a puppy from a breeder. Your best sources for Golden’s are from a breed rescue organization that carefully screens its dogs, or from a reputable breeder who is dedicated to the overall improvement of the breed. The choice you make now will be one you live with for the next decade, so choose carefully.